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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Sport

Captaincy helps Rohit Sharma bloom as player
Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, May 24, 2013
First Published: 00:14 IST(24/5/2013)
Last Updated: 02:09 IST(24/5/2013)

It is difficult to point to Rohit Sharma's moment of arrival in his six-year international career.

For, he has so many! Be it the steady 52 against Pakistan in only his third ODI in 2007, or the back-to-back centuries against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in Bulawayo in 2010 or the three successive fifties against the West Indies in 2011.

His talent is undoubted but he is also a batsman who is closing in on almost 100 One-day Internationals without having played a single Test.

Some say it's his temperament but if that's really the case, Rohit is seriously working towards correcting it. Captaincy, for a change, has helped him here, unlike maybe Sachin Tendulkar.

Ever since he was given the job, despite the presence of veterans like Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Harbhajan Singh, Rohit has exploded onto the scene. With 534 runs in 17 matches, he is the highest run-scorer for the Mumbai Indians in the Twenty20 league.

It was here at the Eden Gardens that he flayed KKR, the most economical bowling attack then, with breathtaking orthodox shots to complete a century that completely overturned the game in Mumbai's favour.

But this year has been different. Captaincy means the 26-year-old has to think about field settings, bowling changes apart from concentrating on his batting. It has only brought out the best in him as a batsman.

Sticking to the No 4 position means more often than not Rohit has had to take over the reins in the middle overs, never quite able to bat during Powerplay. And yet his range of shots hasn't been restricted in anyway.

Coincidentally, it was at Eden that Rohit found himself as captain after Ponting decided to sit out of the game. Mumbai won after a crucial 34 by him. But he didn't want to take credit and instead applauded Ponting's decision to sit out, saying it needed plenty of guts.

It gave an insight into how he has matured. That he has played match-altering knocks in almost all of Mumbai's wins since then also speaks of his efforts at being more responsible towards a city that hasn't won the T20 league despite having the best in the business on their roster. Mumbai will only hope Rohit will rise to the occasion at the venue where fortune has favoured him of late.


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